There are few cars that change their entire field. The Lancia Stratos is one of them. The 80’s was a time when all manufacturers tried their hand at rallying. This meant a stream of some of the wildest cars with homologation numbers were run down the production lines to give the brands a shot at a world title.
Group B rallies have given the auto world some of the most successful and interesting cars of all time. The Audi Quattro, the Renault 5 GT Turbo and even the Peugeot 205 Rallye. But none of them came close to the untamed beast that was the Lancia Stratos. For many reasons we think it’s one of the best cars ever made and even Clarkson agrees with us.
The Stratos set the tone for what would soon become the golden era of rallying. A time when “what’s the worst that can happen” was the attitude and the barriers were nowhere to be seen. The Stratos encapsulates all of this in extremely beautiful packaging. Let’s take a look at how much you have to pay if you want to buy one of the most iconic and successful rally cars of them all; the Lancia Stratos.
The Lancia Stratos
It first appeared in 1970 as a concept car, designed by Bertone’s chief designer, Marcello Gandini. This was a big change for Lancia, which had a very close design relationship with Pininfarina. Looking at the concept, it’s clear where it gets most of its sleek lines, although it’s much sharper and flatter than the end result. The prototype was a sign that the futuristic ’70s had fully arrived.
The Stratos would come as a replacement for the Fulvia HF. HF means High Fidelity, a nickname passed to the Stratos. Lancia racing team leader Cesar Fiorio assembled a team to work on the car that would replace the Fulvia on the Lancia rally scene. The assignment was easy. It needed a short wheelbase, good aerodynamics, 2 seats, a powerful engine in the middle and most importantly; Traction on all kinds of rally surfaces. This started a whole new era of cars, it was the first of its kind ever built with a single purpose; go rally.
The magic number was a homologation series of 500 to allow the Stratos entry into the rally championship. In 1971 the Stratos HF was presented at the Turin Motor Show. The motor? A mid-mounted Ferrari Dino V6. The wheelbase? Under 2 meters. Weighing just 950kg the compact package was enough to power itself and win 1973, 4 and 5 World Rally Championships.
Buy Lancia Stratos
Here’s the thing. When Lancia brought the Stratos to the public market, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The 1970s oil crisis was in full swing and the last thing on anyone’s mind was buying a super thirsty rally car. Lancia sent one to each of its dealers anyway, and as you can imagine, they were tough to sell. But as always with these things, hindsight and forward thinking are your best friends. If you’re looking to buy one today, expect to pay a pretty penny for one of the 500 original cars.
Of these 500 only 2 are currently for sale. And here is the first. This specimen in perhaps the most classic non-rally livery is an absolute eye-catcher. The red livery with the signature chunky dark metallic gold wheels makes for an incredibly handsome car. To top it off, you’re greeted by two seats upholstered in beige Alcantara. This 1975 example is offered with full history and is available from an official Ferrari dealership in Basel, Switzerland. Price only on request.
Another available example is this absolute peach. Presented in full rally specification, this car ticks all the right boxes if history and charisma are your two key criteria. Expect this driving experience to be as unique as it can be when stripped completely inside, with fixed Alcantara-covered bucket seats and harnesses. Painted in stunning rally colors and with an impressive history of competing with Bellosta / Bodensan rally teams. Available again, price on request.
For a true measure of price, these examples are as close as possible. Due to the scarcity and popularity of the Lancia Stratos, it’s extremely rare to see one for sale. After past sales, it’s been late 2020 since one was publicly sold. The last one sold cost just under $500,000. So when you factor in the rise in car prices since the pandemic, expect to be over half a million dollars if you want to get your hands on one.
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